Business? Really! Wasn’t there anything else you can do?

Each day comes with different phases of life for different individuals, some get inspired to do better in their lives, community and country and improve their economic status. Some battle each day to get their business dream realized and put on the radar to start blooming. Whereas others are burned out and worn out from the effort they have been trying to put in to make it work, and from those, some give up, some take a break, and some try again the next day. One would suggest that the success of one’s business is not necessarily always because they had a better business idea or business plan than the other, but there are many other factors that contribute to someone’s well-thought businesses end-up failing and never reaching the success stage.

What often happens is we are unrealistic in our judgment for success. We set a big goal and assume we will reach there by a certain time. But more than often this goal requires one to have proficiency of multiple skill sets, for example, planning, marketing, selling, budgeting, managing funds, managing people/teams, and competing with businesses in the similar field. These skills take years to perfect and master. Our goals are then hanging on the hope that we will have acquired the skills before the end of our set duration to success. To add to this, you realize many other skills required for your set of business once you have started your business. It is at this stage that some choices need to be made to continue or to let go. More than often the Africans have no support system to help them out from passing this phase.

Our background did not provide us with the mindset and skill set to deal with these issues. Our parents were raised at a time that it was believed all you needed to do was study so you can get a job. So even when they wish to support us, they have little wisdom on how to do so. The South African government has considered helping in some of these challenges by introducing the Small business development ministry. Even with this department, there has been very little focus given to little startup business. Since 2014 the most of the attention has been given to those businesses which mostly had received funding from the government and the little man and women together with the youth in the rural areas has received very little if any assistance.

It is in my opinion that in order for the African economy to thrive we cannot only depend on the government for support. If there are structures available to help beginners to do well at an early stage most of the failed businesses would have had the stamina to stand through the trials and difficult times. Maybe they need to have a system introduced that group people in a similar business category get to help each other. For example, if the is a group were in every small farmer can send their natural produce for selling it would be better than having to try to connect to the customer yourself who tend to require more than you can produce and have other standards you cannot meet.

If Shoprite has a contract/tender to receive tomatoes from farm A, it then gives no opportunity to the garden start-up farmer B, C, D and E to supply one crate a week. But if we have 20 of the small farmers each producing a crate a week, which is then combined in one group, they all stand a chance to sell their produce. When you have a support structure, you don’t struggle alone. Another example this grouping could help with is when there are new crop diseases in the area, you get help on how to deal with such challenges. This is not only in agriculture, but this principle can also save a lot of businesses that died too soon when they could have had great success.

It is true that some people are opting to do business only because they could not find jobs, but that is not going to change anytime soon. African need to trust each other, and those who are able and have succeeded in their big businesses should offer to assist those in small businesses. Above all, supporting our own people will do us much good that otherwise. Let us pride ourselves in what we Africans can do. Africa is blessed with so much wealth in its soil, reaches we are giving away to other countries. Let us hold hands in making it profitable to us, lets process and create ourselves. I believe we are skilled and educated enough to can make anything in business to improve our economy for a greater and better future.